local products

art and more...

activities

In Mandali  you will find products from local producers: olive oil, honey, raki, olives, herbs, essentail oils and olive soap.
 

All products are produced in  small businesses with respect for mother nature or they come straight from the farmer.

more  about local products

In the rural area of Kournas you will discover a variety of flowers and herbs. You can make easy walks in and around the village.

The walking-path "Azilakas Street" will lead you towards the forest with a small river, very old oak trees and the 
"strawberry trees". 
more about activities

bees
local products
memories of Crete
Mandali shop

Mandali in Kournas

smell, taste, feel and discover the real Crete

In the center of the village Kournas you will find the local shop "Mandali", a place where you can smell, taste, feel and discover the real Cretan products. Barbara, from the Netherlands, opened this shop in 2016 with the aim of making the small traditional village a bit more lively and to support the local farmers.
 

In the shop, you can buy unique products from local farmers, craftsmen, artists, and manufacturers.
A unique product in Mandali is the famous original Dutch syrup waffle from the Amsterdam Good Cookies brand, the best, tastiest and crunchiest syrup cookie.

You will find one of a kind jewelry, postcards, paintings, candles, mandala gift cards and other small presents that you will definitely enjoy.
 

Come to Kournas and see for yourself!

Also information about Kournas village, holiday accommodation, events and activities you can get at Mandali. Barbara will be pleased to help you to make your stay in Kournas unforgettable.

Inspired by nature and made from natural materials are the symbols of the unique artworks and jewellery in Mandali.
I am sure you will love the jewellery made of glass with shells and colliers made from Tagua nuts. The gift-cards, paintings, canvasses and treasure boxes are all unique.

more about art

My name is Barbara, I am from The Netherlands and my husband and I spent a lot of our lovely holidays here on Crete. We traveled all over the island and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, hospitable Cretans, the delicious, healthy food and fine climate. We visited almost all major towns and villages, attractions and 'places-to-be "and every time we discovered again special places, we met lovely, exceptional people, and were impressed with all aspects of this beautiful island.


In the southwest of Crete, we organized some walking holidays and in 2010 my husband and I made our dream come true and we moved to Crete.


The beautiful green province Apokoronas had our preference and we found a house in the small traditional village Kournas, just 4 kilometers from the lake and only 5 kilometers from the north coast, with a kilometer long sandy beach.

about Mandali and me

Barbara

the traditional village  Kournas

I enjoy the life in the small village Kournas and during my work in tourism, I also noticed that tourists like to visit the traditional mountain villages. But sometimes these visits have some obstacles: where to park the car, what can you do, what is interesting to see there, etc.

So I began to think: the village Kournas might get more visitors and should become a little more "alive and kicking". Visitors should be given the opportunity to discover the daily village life.

But how?

logo

With a lot of support (and hard work) from my husband in March 2016 my dream came true and my shop was a fact: "Mandali, local products and more..."
Looking for a name for my shop I choose "Mandali". This word comes from Mandala, it is  in the old Sanskrit language and it means: circle, connection, community. The logo, the circle of live, fits it well, I thought.

"Mandali" also means a circle of people dancing together.

And ... I like to draw and color mandalas.And ... I like to draw and color mandalas.

I got an idea and with this idea, I got the chance to follow the study "Women Innovators for Social Businesses in Europe" at the ESA (European Sustainable Acadamy) in Drapanos, here on Crete. I learned a lot about starting a social business and slowly my idea became a plan and finally it became reality.In this way Kournas gets more alive and kicking and gives the local people the opportunity to share their knowledge, their talents and their stories.
 

I would start by opening a shop in Kournas where I can sell the local products, straight from the farmer and producer and I can give visitors and tourists information about Kournas: what to do, where to go etc. In the future I would like to expand the activities in cooperation with the villagers and organize cooking-courses, picking herbs, workshops Cretan dances, helping farmers with harvesting olives, pressing grapes, building a museum with tools, pictures and stories from yesterday etc.
 

In this way Kournas can again become "alive and kicking" and locals can get a chance to share their knowledge, their talents and their stories.

Mandali in Kournas

Kournas

I am looking forward meeting you at Mandali at the "Story Table"

storytable

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the local products of Kournas

olive oil

honey

raki  liqueur

herbs

raki "tsikoudia"

The local products with the "Kournas" label are coming directly from the farmers and small produducers in Kournas and surrounding.
I am proud to offer you fair products with high quality for a good price. Offcourse you can taste and test all the products, so you know what you are buying.

Crete is famous for the thyme honey and this very tasteful honey you can buy at Mandali.
In Kournas we have several beekeepers who have their beehives in the areas where the thyme is blooming. 

You can taste this honey at Mandali.

 

olive oil

red and white wine

The Cretan wines are getting more and more wellknown and also in this area  you will see a lot of vineyards. 

The Red and white wine are very popular, but in the hot summer people also drink the rose wine. 

 

olives

The most famous herb of Crete is the thyme, but there are so much more healthy and tastful herbs growing here. And not only for use in the food, also in a healthy tea it will taste perfect. Very special are the "Dictamos" and the "Malotira", the Cretan mountain tea.

lavender oil

raki
raki with coffee
olives
wine
herbs
lavender

olive soap

 Just outside Kournas, is the small farm  "Lavender Way", where Gill and Derek cultivate the colorful and fragrant lavender.

They produce three types of organic, essential lavender oil and a refreshing aromatic lavender spray.

fisika

Looking for items to make the assortment in Mandali complete I have found some special products, made in small businesses here on Crete.

local products from Crete

The olive oil "Kournas" is produced in the olive oil factory in the village. The olives ARE growing near the village and for the farmer and his family the quality of the olive oil is very important. They ensure that the trees and the fruit remain healthy in a natural way, without the use of chemicals.

The traditional drink raki is called "tsikoudia" on Crete and it is distilled from the residues after pressing the grapes.

It is a strong drink, it contains nearly 40% alcohol.
A good raki you can recognize by the taste and flavor of the grapes.

Many people find the raki too strong. But added with fruit, herbs or honey it becomes a delicious sweet liqueur and it contains less alcohol.
Mandali offers you raki liqueur with honey, with lemon, with strawberry and with coffee.

rete is famous for its olives and especially in the area of ​​Kournas you will see the olivetrees with the small type "Koronaika" olive. The "Kournas" green olives are preserved with salt, lemon and water and the black olives are pickled in salt.

Natural, handmade olive soaps and skin creams are made by the three ladies of the workshop Fisika in Tavronitis.
All products are handmade with natural ingredients, made with care and have an unique design.
 

Amsterdam Good Cookies

honey

olive oil "Patima"

The oliveoil "Patima" comes straight from a small family, who have their olivetrees in the area of Kournas. Like almost all the farmers in this area they don't use chemicals to keep their trees healthy.
This oliveoil is only available in a glass bottle. Like all the other oliveoils you can taste it at Mandali.

oliveoil
waffles

They are crunchy, sweet, big and they are famous: the Dutch  "stroopwafel"

And now also on Crete, at mandali you can get these tasteful syrup waffles.


I am proud to have got the opportunity to sell you the one and only "Amsterdam Good Cookies", the brand produced by a small business in a village in The Netherlands. 

Put the "stroopwafel" on your hot coffee or tea for a few minutes and enjoy!!!

Spoon fruit

In almost every village are ladies who make the famous "spoon fruit". Delicious as a dessert.

It is made of all kinds of fruit, vegetables and even flowers.

At Mandali you will find, among other things, the flavors orange and cherry.

Marmelade


Not typical Cretan, but very tasty is the marmelade, made with the delicious oranges and lemons that grow here on Crete.

gift cards

paintings

treasure boxes

glass jewelry

art, jewelry and more ...

walking books

handmade leatherwear

At Mandali I offer you a wide selection of unique products from the skilful hands of local artists and craftsmen. Unique backpacks, decorated candles, paintings, jewelery, gift cards, wooden treasure boxes and other small gifts that you will definitely appreciate.

And if you are looking for a special gift for your friends and relatives, just don't forget to take home a little something for yourself as well.

maps

hand made, original gift cards

with envelop, for women, men

and children. Colorful stones with painted mandala and nature motifs.

unique handmade paintings from a local artist, inspired by the beautiful beaches of Crete

made from Tagua nuts, the eco-ivory, every piece is unique. Colored and natural 

small and bigger wooden boxes for your treasures, jewellery or diary.

Unique and beautifully decorated

Unique Cretan leatherwear, handmade by Babayianka

colliers and bracelets made from glass and inspired by the Cretan beaches and shells.  Made by a local artist

giftcard
painting

wood collier

unique, natural necklaces made from the wood of the mulberry trees

Tagua orange
mulberry collier
summerbox
red bag
collier glass

Using a good detailed map helps you to discover  the real Crete. The walking and hiking maps from "Anavasi" also contain extra information for walkers.

map

Cretan knives

A must have  for walkers of the E4 path in the "Cretan Way". With routes, suggestions for staying overnight and  a lot of background information

The Cretan knives play an important role in the Cretan culture. The knives are handmade by "Armenis" and have an engraved Cretan Mantinade (poem) 

knives

post cards

The postcards from Kournas and surroundings are unique and designed by Mandali

postcard

walking booklets

With the walkingbooks from "Discover Crete on foot" you can make a lot of walks in the province Apokoronas. 

walking booklets
walking booklet
Tagua naturel
bracelet
rucksack
Cretan way
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gallery/mandali-stone

Tagua jewelry

gallery/keramiek2

Handmade ceramics from one of the oldest potteries on Crete is now available at Mandali. 

gallery/mandali-komboloi

komboloi 

 A "friend" with whom you can share all the fun, worries and grief. And who helps to put everything in a row, while the worry beads quietly slip through your fingers.
 

We choose komboloi made from natural. materials such as wood from walnut. Also wooden bracelets you will find at Mandali.

Kournas, a village with character

view Kournas

In the small villages of Crete, you will find the friendly hospitality and proud tradition of receiving guests. The Cretans are known for their generosity and their friendly reception of travelers, guests and visitors.

In Kournas you can still experience the simple village life, here you will experience the real Crete. Here you can smell the fresh herbs, you can wander in the olive groves and taste the local products, from olives, olive oil to fresh fruit, wine and raki.

It seems as if time has stood still in Kournas: the men of the village are discussing the news of the day in the kafenion, the women ask each other what they will cook today and the children play safely in the street.
 

Who makes a walk through the village will see many old and renovated traditional houses. The narrow streets are wide enough to let pass a donkey. Cars drive on the new, wider roads. Outside the village you can still see the ladies who pick the herbs and wild vegetables for the daily meal.

Kournas is located 5 kilometers from the beach of Kavros (Georgioupoli municipality) and 4 km from the lake Kournas. Situated at the foot of the mountain Dafnomadaras (1680 meters) the village is safe at a height of nearly 250 meters.

In 1583 Kournas was already mentioned as a village with plenty of activities and the town has played an important role during the Ottoman occupation. In 1866 Kournas was the center of the Revolutionary Government and in 1897 the village was the seat of the Cretan Assembly.

Kournas is a small village that still has the traditional Cretan character: a small square with a beautiful view and surrounded by a tavern, a small supermarket, a local shop and of course the statue of a local hero. Mulberry trees and large planetree provide wonderful shade in the hot summer months.
 

At various places in the village there are beautiful views. You can see the Almyros Bay, the villages Georgioupolis and Kavros and along the countryside in the direction of Rethymnon you can see the villages Kastellos, Dramia and Episkopi.
 

Also the first mountains of the imposing Lefka Ori (White Mountains) are to be seen from Kournas. In winter and spring the white snow on the mountain peaks and the bluest sky gives us a spectacular panorama.

There are approximately 500 people living in Kournas and in the center you will find a small supermarket, a kafenion, a bakery, a ouzeri, a shop with local products "Mandali" a ceramics shop and three taverns. There is also a primary school, which is visited by more than 120 children from Kournas and surrounding villages.

Just before the center of the village you will see the community center with a large square and a stage where in summertime weddings, baptisms, plays and parties are being held.
Next to the community center there is the football pitch and a children's playground.

Across the playground is the olive oil factory, where every year from november, olives are being pressed.

The Greek Orthodox faith is very important in the life of the Cretans and the church and the many small churches and chapels are being maintained very well by the locals.

In and around Kournas there are 11 churches and the most special, and also two of the oldest Byzantine churches on Crete,  are the Agia Irini and the Agios Georgios, built in 1200 AD.

On April 23 is the celebration of the name day of Agios Georgios Church and on May 5, the name day of Agia Irini is celebrated.

Kournas is a year-round lively village: in summer and in winter there is live music in the taverns, in September people press the grapes at various locations in the village and in October it is time to distill the "tsikoudia" (the Cretan raki) in the two "Kazanis"

On August 16 the Community of Kournas is organizing its annual festival on the square of the community center with a performance by the popular musician-singer Nikos Zoiidakis.

On August 29 the villagers celebrate the feast of St. John the Baptist, along with friends, family and tourists. On the terraces of the taverns "Babis" and "Kali Kardia"  you can enjoy live music and dancing.

 

So, get on the bus, start the car, grab the bike or motorbike, put on your walking shoes and come to Kournas, you are welcome !!!

men with goats

daily life

location

traditional character

old house

center of the village

religious celebrations

party time

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NEW  Walks with donkeys in Kournas

If you want to get to know the area and the village a little bit better, then you are welcome at the hikes with one of the donkeys or the botanical walk EXTRA. You can read more information about this on the page  walking in Kournas

and now also a village with donkeys

gallery/mandali-manopezel3

eating, drinking and celebrating in Kournas

In Kournas are three taverns, where still the traditional Cretan dishes are cooked. From many miles away people come to enjoy the delicious home-made food.  Also the locals are regular guests in the taverns, especially on Sunday, when mostly the "kokoretsi" or the "Anti Christo" is on the menu,.

music and dance

In the summer months in almost all the villages you can enjoy the "panagiri", the feast of the village, And also in Kournas there is regularly something to celebrate.
Not only the villagers, but also tourists from the region come to the village to celebrate the feast.

So if you're in the area ... come over and let's celebrate!!!

The first party is on April 23, when the name day of St. Georgios is celebrated in the church with the same name in Kournas. The Papas (priest) of the village is also called Georgios, so you understand that this festival will be celebrated in a good way. After the service, everyone is welcome at the square at the church where the tables and chairs are already in place with the blessed bread, pilaf rice, meat and wine.

On August 16, the annual village-festival is celebrated with a live performance of the famous musician and singer Nikos Zoiidakis. On the square next to the community-centre there is room enough for the hundreds of guests who celebrate this party until the early hours.  Like at most of the parties, you can enjoy your meal here and taste the local wine.

Two weeks later, on August 29 the villagers and also many tourists,  celebrate the name day of St. John. The festival begins with a service in the church of St. John in the "backyard" of Kournas. In the evening the main street in the village will turn into a big party with plenty of food and drink and of course music and dance.

food and drinks

On the village square you will find the tavern "Kanarina", run by Nikos and Maria Kokolakis; a little further, past the square, you will see on the right side the tavern "Kali Kardia", run by Andreas Anagnostakis and here in front of you are welcome at Babis in his tavern "Babis".

Just beyond the village square, next to the bakery Polenta you will find  the ouzeri "Aetofolia" and  a little bit more uphill on the same road you can visit the village cafe, "kafenion" from the Piperakis family.

So in Kournas you do not have to be hungry and your thirst can be quenched in many places.

For more than 25 years Maria and Nikos Kokolakis run the tavern "Kournas", better known as "Kanarina". And equally long every summer tourists come back here to greet the family and enjoy the Cretan cooking of Maria and the meat from the grills, Nikos' speciality.
Sometimes the terrace is spontaneously used in the summer months as a dance floor for the famous Cretan dances.

An ouzeri is a cafe where people enjoy a drink whith a small snacks. You may know them: rolled grape leaves, olives, small cheese biscuits, sausages "loukaniko", etc. The ouzeri is run by the family Dramilaris and has the name "Aetofolia" (Eagle's Nest).
Just like the kafenion is this the place where people tell eachother the news, talk about the daily business and share their experiences.

partytime
Agios Georgios
party

Tavern Kournas

tavern Kournas

Ouzeri "Aetofolia"

ouzeri

Tavern Kali Kardia

The tavern "Kali Kardia" is a famous name in Kournas. Together with his wife Evangelia, Kosta Anagnostakis opened his tavern in 1959 and from far away people came to Kournas to enjoy the traditional Cretan dishes and many delicious homemade specialties such as the "galaktoboreika" and "Kokoretsi".

 

Since 2013 Kali Kardia is run by Andreas Anagnostakis. Together with the support of his partner Melina and  friends the old days revive in Kournas. On the menu are delicious, healthy Cretan dishes, including the "Kokoretsi" (only on Sundays), homemade appetizers and the famous "Salad Kali Kardia" and the lovely desert "galaktoboreika".

Friday night is dedicated to music: local and regional musicians are playing on the terrace in summertime and in the wintermonths they perform in the tavern.

Usually the performances start after 21:00, so you have time to enjoy your meal with musical accompaniment. And of course on those nights people will be dancing the wellknown "Cretan dances".

kali kapdia grill
kali kardia kapdia

Tavern Babis

For several years the tavern "Babis" is located in front of "Kali Kardia" and lovers of the traditional Cretan cuisine are here at the right address. The delicious "Salad Babis" and on Sunday the "Antichristo" are just some examples.
At the entrance of his tavern Babis has set up a small museum with special ancient utensils, the Cretan flag, a large pedigree and much more. During the quiet winter months Babis is making the Cretan cane, the "Katsouna" which is still used by the shepherds.

Tavern "Babis" also organize live music in the summer months and these parties often last until the early hours.

tavern Babis

Kafenion Piperakis

Over 35 years ago, there were as many as 11 kafenions in Kournas! The last decades a lot of villagers left the village and the kafenion of the Piperakis family is the only one that remained.


But it is not just only a kafenion. It has a wine cellar, a small mini market with the major daily necessaries, it is the "post office" of the village and here are pressed many thousands of kilos of grapes in September. The wine from Piperakis is loved and served in many Cretan restaurants and is even exported to many countries all over the world.

The owner of the kafenion, Dimitri Piperakis was formerly the mayor of Kournas, so he knows almost everything and everyone.
 

In summertime you are welcome to the cozy terrace for a cup of Greek coffee, a beer or a glass of house wine. During the winter a wood stove warms the kafenion and this is the place to be to hear all the news and adventures.

kafenion
Dakos
salat
lamb
winecellar
wineleaves
octopus

Would you like to know more about Kournas and the real village life? Almost every day, Arno, one of the villagers, makes a walk through the village. He takes his donkeys and tells you about the all-day life in Kournas.
More information about this walk you can read here

shopping in Kournas

You will not find large stores where you can shop extensively in Kournas. All year round, practically every day, traders in their cars come to the village to sell their wares: fruit and vegetables, chicken, clothes and shoes, plants, flowerpots and potting soil, bread, carpets, everything is for sale.

And for other purchases, we go to Kavros, or to the cities of Rethymnon only 25 kilometers away or to Chania, 48 kilometers away.

Supermarket

For daily necessities, you can visit the small supermarket "Kontarida" at the village square. Kostas' shop is open every day from 8:00 till 14:00 and from 16:30 till 21:00. Sunday afternoon the supermarket is closed.

You can also buy here a delicious ice cream or a cold bottle of water.

Hair Salon

Next door to her parents' bakery, Vivian opened her hair salon for ladies, children and men.You can also contact Vivian for manicure, pedicure and bridal make-up.

The salon is open from 10:00 till 13:00 and from 17:00 till 21:00.  The salon is closed on Sunday.

Kafenion

Next to the kafenion you can discover a small shop. This dates from the time that there were no shops in the village at all. For the most important necessities of life people then went to the kafenion.

The range is no longer so extensive, but even now Dimitri Piperakis sells some important products, such as matches, flour, sugar and coffee.

His own use wine, raki and olive oil are also sold here

gallery/mandali-supermarket-kournas
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Bakery

A little further on the right side of the street, Mimi Polentas is running his traditional bakery for many years. Every morning the fresh bread is ready for you. His son, Pantelis, delivers every morning the fresh bread in the village and in the area of Kournas. Katerina, the wife if the baker, is responsible for the traditional Cretan biscuits and the delicious, healthy "breadsticks".

Also the healthy Cretan "Paximadi", the double baked bread is baked here. The bakery is open every day, also on Sunday.

 

The large oven is almost heated every day and is also used by the ladies of the village for baking large meals or cheese pie and by the owners of the taverns for their dishes. During festivities, such as Easter, the oven is used almost continuously by locals who bake the extensive festive (meat)dishes for family and friends.

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Mandali

To complete this page I will mention "Mandali", the local shop, which you will find at the square, just next to the tavern "Kournas"

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did you know...

... that Kournas has 11 churches?

... that there are donkeys in Kournas again?

... that in Kournas there used to be more than 10 kafenions, several small shops, 3 olive oil factories and

    a number of cheese factories?

... there is a walking path to Kavros and that it is marked with orange signs?

 

... that the climate in Kournas is very healthy? Usually a cool breeze in the summertime and low humidity

    in the winter.

... that the old walking path "Monopati Azilakas Street" was made accessible again by volunteers of

    Kournas in 2011?

... that there is also a walking path to the lake of Kournas and that it is also signed out with orange signs?

... that many residents still slaughter their chicken, pig or sheep at home?

 

... that Kournas has a cultural community that organizes various activities?

... some of the activities are giving music- and dance lessons, organizing excursions to special places in

    Crete and the annual theater performance by the Kournas Theater Group.

... that there used to be many sources of water in Kournas?

... that there is a river flowing just outside Kournas that has water almost the whole year?

... that this river is called "Sfakas" and as soon as he leaves Kournas he is called "Kournas"?

 

... that the Kournas cave has been closed for more than 10 years due to the danger of collapse?

... that Kournas is at more than 200 meters altitude?

... that only a few streets in the village have a name?

... that the houses do not have a number or postbox?

... that the postman Manolis delivers most of the mail at the kafenion?

... that we pick up the mail here and then we also hear all the news from the visitors?

 

... that more than 40 foreigners permanently live in Kournas?

... that they come from, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia, France, Norway, Albania, Austria

    and Belgium?

 

 

In the traditional mountain village of Kournas you won't see many tourist activities: there is no tourist office with organized trips, no car or bike rental, no souvenir shops, even a hotel you will not find here.
"What am I supposed to do," you may think. Well, nothing. You are allowed to "do" nothing in Kournas, just enjoy village life. Experience the tranquility, the space, the sound of the cock crowing and the music of the goat bells. Hear the music of the grocer to let you know that he is coming with his car and see the villagers enjoying everyday life.
 

Kournas

botanical walk EXTRA

azilakas

simplicity

In summer months, the daily life in the mountain villages of Kournas takes place mainly outdoors: around the house, in the garden, on the balcony, in the street or on the sidewalk in front of the house.
On the village square, on the terraces of the taverns and in the kafenions (village cafes) there are always visitors exchanging the latest news and gossip.
You are also welcome in the taverns, the cafe or on a bench in the square to find out how village life can be.

village walk

Kournas is a small village, where you can easily make a short or longer walk.

Just strolling through the narrow streets, walking criss-cross through the village or explore the village and surrounding area with a plan or a walking book. The choice is yours.
A map of the village and the area is available at Mandali and also a hiking booklet including two walks in Kournas is available here.

Kournas
donkey

Adventures in Kournas

botanical walk with donkeys

Almost every day Arno makes with his donkeys a botanical walk in the backyard

of Kournas.

More information you can read on the page walking in and around Kournas

village walk with donkeys

If you want to learn more about the all-day life in a traditional village like Kournas, you are welcome at the village walk with donkeys.

On this page you can read more information about this walk.

gallery/mandali-donkeys-walking
gallery/mandali-donkeys

Twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays, you can take part in the botanical walk which starts at Mandali, on the village square.
Here you can read more about the botanical walk

donkeys in Kournas

One of the most frequently asked questions from the tourists in Crete is: where are the donkeys? And this question is not so easy to answer.

About 30 years ago, in Kournas, the donkeys were seen in all the streets and on the fields. They ensured the transport of branches, raw materials and also of people. 

Less than 4 years ago three donkeys lived in Kournas. They were used by their owners as a beast of burden in the transportation of timber and tools. One man also used his donkey as a means of transport. He could not walk so good anymore, but thanks to his donkey he could still go to his plot to work it. Unfortunately, these last 3 donkeys have died.

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there are again donkeys in Kournas

At that time Kavros did not exist yet and the area on the coast was called "Paralia Kournas" (beach Kournas). In this agricultural area the farmers from Kournas cultivated their potatoes, watermelons, courgettes and also a lot of peanuts. During the harvest of the peanuts, the donkeys were loaded with the peanuts, they got a slap and walked uphill to Kournas. Here someone took the load of the donkey. He then got a slap and walked down again, to Kavros. They knew the way.


One of our wishes was to have a couple of donkeys, to take for to walk, who help to carry the herbs and the water. Would not it be nice if we had a few donkeys in Kournas again?
For more than a year we were searching for donkeys, but this was not so easy. We wanted two donkeys because a donkey is a companion animal and does not like to be alone.

After a long search we succeeded and Arno and I now are the proud owners of 2 donkeys and a foal that has yet to be born.

Both donkeys are females and the eldest is called Eos, 7 years old and she expects her first foal soon. The youngest donkey listens (not always) to the name Cleo and she is almost 2 years old.

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Walking with donkeys in Kournas

The village of Kournas and the "back garden" offer plenty of opportunities for walks with donkeys and if you want to join them on one of the walks, read more information on the page walking in and around Kournas

Also this year in Kournas there will be an adventurous botanical walk EXTRA every week. On Monday and Wednesday you are welcome to discover the 'backyard' of Kournas. This walk starts at 9:30 am at "Mandali", on the village square and we will be back around 12:00. The walk is also suitable for children from ± 6 years.

With normal, sturdy shoes or sandals you can easily walk this route. Do not forget your camera and/or binoculars, and also a bottle of water can be useful because sometimes it can be warm in the early morning.

If you would like to walk with a walking stick, take it with you. A stick can be useful in some places. If you do not have a walking stick with you, you can choose a stick at "Madali" and use it during the walk.

The price of the walk is € 10,-  per person (children are free) and this includes an "Amsterdam Good Cookies" waffle. Sign up at Barbara by phone: 0030-6951337205, by  email or at Facebook

Kournas

walking in and around Kournas

We walk at a calm pace and stop at beautiful, unusual plants, fragrant flowers, ancient trees and spicy herbs. 
Every season, every month, even every week,  nature changes its color and its smell.  That makes this herb walk so fascinating: we never know what nature will show us.

Often we encounter the goats and sheep on our path or we see and hear them on the mountain slopes. Birds of prey such as buzzards and vultures often fly above our heads.

The walk takes us slowly uphill and at the highest point, we have a nice view over the village of Kournas and the coast of the Almyros Bay. Through a narrow goat path we descend to the forest with ancient oaks, plane trees and "strawberry trees".
Through the footpath called "Azilakas Street," we walk into the forest. This trail is maintained by volunteers of Kournas and, if necessary, again equipped with handrails and "stair steps".

 

We walk in the forest high above and along the river "Sfakas" in which water flows almost all year round and a few times we will cross the small river. Until in June you will see many small waterfalls in the river, but in summer there is almost no water in sight.
The narrow path goes uphill and downhill and takes us along an old lime kiln.
Once we leave the forest we walk on the broader dirt roads past olive trees and vines back towards Kournas.

footpath "Azilakas'

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"Azilakas Street" through the forest

downhill towards the forest

tapping fresh water

strawberry trees

botanical walk with donkeys

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botanical walk EXTRA

The village of Kournas and the surrounding area offer plenty of opportunities for short and longer walks.

You can choose a walk on your own,  a botanical walk together with Arno and one of his donkeys or together with Barbara an adventurous botanical walk EXTRA

In the morning at 10:00 Arno leaves with the donkeys in the direction of the back garden of Kournas to show you which herbs, plants, flowers and trees can be found here. The walk takes about 2 hours, including a break at the Church of Saint John. We walk on field roads and asphalt, so also your children can easily make this walk.

This botanical walk is on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and starts at "Mandali" on the village square at 10:00 am and at about 12:00 you are back here again.

Donkeys do not like rain and strong winds, so on wet, stormy days the donkeys stay in their land.

holidays in Kournas

Kournas apartments 

Two apartments, traditionally built and nicely furnished, with a beautiful view and located in the center of the village of Kournas. New this year is the swimming pool with terrace. The apartments can also be rented as a large home for a large family or large group of friends.

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Villa Iasonas

A beautifully renovated stone house with traditional elements and modern decor. On the terrace you have a beautiful view on the 'backyard' of the village. Here you can also enjoy the swimming pool on one of the terraces.

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Acrothea Villa
villa Acrothea

Villa Stella

Villa Stella is located in the center of the village. A house built in the Cretan style, with several apartments and a splendid view.

Cretan House

This house is 120 years old and has been completely renovated and decorated with many old utensils in addition to a modern interior. The house has a terrace and a large garden with fruit trees. The house is suitable for 4 guests.

Villa Karin

This villa is built in a valley on the outskirts of the village, with a beautiful, colorful garden, with swimming pool and sun terraces. The villa has 3 bedrooms.

Villa Aloni

This villa is suitable for a large family or group of friends. Spread over 3 floors there are 5 bedrooms. The villa is built in Cretan style with all the luxury you want. The house is on the edge of the village and also has a swimming pool and a large garden with terraces.

I hope the information on this page is useful for you and I hope you will have got some inspiration for your next holiday.

I wish you a lot of fun preparing your holiday on Crete and If you have questions, I am here to help you.

Just send me an email or a message on Facebook and I will try to answer your questions as best as possible.

Villa Acrothea

This villa, renovated in Cretan style, was completely renovated in 2014 and now also has a swimming pool. A magnificent view on the sea and the mountains, plenty of privacy and tranquility make your holiday unforgettable.

If you want to discover more in and around Kournas and enjoy village life at your leisure, you can book your next holiday here. Scattered throughout the village there are beautiful holiday homes available: for singles, for couples and groups of friends or for large and small families. I have collected a number of websites of holiday homes for you and who knows, maybe we will meet each other this summer in Kournas.

usefull links 

In the area of Kournas you will find much more for an unforgettable holiday and the most interesting items  you will see on this page. Also some more general and useful information on Crete you will find here.

If you have questions about certain things or if you want some "inside information" about something, just send me an email or a message on Facebook and I'll try to help you.

The island Crete has so much to offer you and I can imagine it is difficult for you to choose: what to do, where to go and what to see. I will try to help you by giving you some links to websites with good information about spectacular excursions, nice experiences, special places and much more ...

It is very easy to discover Crete on your own. In a lot of places you can rent a car or motorcycle and plan your own discovery-trip. Also with a moped you can make beautiful tours through the small villages in the area.

Discover Crete near you

You don't have to travel for hours to taste the real Crete! In the area of Kournas you can enjoy some adventurous trips.

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A spectacular experience is the day-trip with Georgioupolis Safari.
Your driver Stelios let you discover, smell and taste the real Crete. 
This day will become unique and unforgetable.

On the internet you can find a lot of information about Crete, the beautiful nature and special places to visit, but some websites  deserve extra attention and that is the reason that I would like to share these most remarkable and extensive websites  with you.

 

A lot of information about Crete and the mainland of Greece is Greeka.com, with a lot of pictures and a helpfull community.


Checkincreta is a very comprehensive website with beautiful pictures and a lot of information about Crete.

 

The website Cretanbeaches is a complete travel guide for Crete, with an up-to-date travel app.

 

Beautiful pictures and a lot of information about the special and endemic flowers of Crete you will find on  flowers of crete


When you love wild herbs and a rough countryside, you have to visit Babis and Janina in their workshop-tavern wild herbs of crete


Not far from Chania you can visit the Botanical Park, where fruit trees, herbs, medicinal plants and flowers are growing like in paradise

 

On the website incrediblecrete you will find information about Crete and also recipes and a cultural agenda.

To promote tourism on Crete there were made some very beautiful movies about Crete and some of them even won prices on the Tourism Film Festival

One of them I can show you here. When you watch it on You Tube you will discover the other special movies about all the aspects of beautiful Crete.

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If you want to spend a realxing day on the water, you can book a boat-trip with captain Georgios on his yacht "Aphrodite" 

You can swim, snorkel, relax in the sun, visit caves and try to catch a fish.

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You always dreamed of an exciting beach ride, a mini-safari or a riding holiday? Zoraida Horse Riding can offer you various riding trips. Even beginners or non-experienced riders are welcome.

At the stations of Talos Express you can discover the nature and culture of Crete by travelling with the little train.
You can visit the lake of Kournas and also the villages in the area.

When you love walking and also want to learn something about the nature of Crete, you are welcome at Mandali.

Every day there are several walks in and around Kournas.

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special places on Crete

For a sporty day out, please contact Nikos bycicles in Kavros. 

He has for you a bike with many gears and a handy map with routes in the area.

adventures in the area of Kournas

I hope the information on this page is usefull for you and I hope you will have got some inspiration for your next holiday.

I wish you a lot of fun preparing your holiday on Crete and If you have questions, I am here to help you.

Just send me an email or a message on Facebook and I will try to answer your questions as best as possible.

Also suggestions, additions or interesting information are always welcome. 

walking guide Area Petres, Mousellas, Embrosneros and Kato Poros

If you like walking in the area of Kournas, you can have a look at the walking guide written by Victor Law. He lives in Kastellos, a small village next to Kournas and he discovered a lot of walking paths in the area of Petres, Kato Poros, Embrosneros and the Mousellas river. Even a "coast to coast" walk is included.

You can read the map here and you are free to download it for personal use.

a picture tells more than 1000 words...

contact

Telephone: +30-6951337205
E-mail: info@mandali-kournas.com
Facebook: Mandali Kournas